Over 20 local restaurants contended for best margarita and food sample at Friday's sold out community fundraising event
For the 13th year, the World Margarita Championship impressed attendees with a feast for the senses. Creative and flavorful food and drink were served to a record-breaking audience on Friday night at the El Conquistador Tucson, A Hilton Resort, highlighted by live performances by Ballet Folklorico Tapatio and Aztral Folk, in addition to live painting by artist Victor Navarro. Eight final winners were selected to take home awards for their outstanding contributions by a panel of judges as well as votes submitted by attendees.
The restaurants weren't the only winners on Friday evening. The event is a collaborative fundraiser for both the Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance (SAACA) and Tucson Original Restaurants, and all proceeds benefit programs of their respective organizations. This year nearly $20,000 was raised through admission and raffle tickets and will be invested into SAACA's groundbreaking programs like Music & Memory and Veterans Art Therapy, and Tucson Originals Restaurants dynamic support of locally owned restaurants.
The winners of this year's competition are:
Judges Choice for Margarita
1st Place: The Tequila Factory @ Casino Del Sol -- Hielo Verde Margarita
2nd Place: Fresco Pizzeria -- Bitter Orange Margarita
3rd Place: Lodge on the Desert Restaurant-- "Kiss Me Through the Foam" Margarita
People's Choice for Margarita
1st Place: Rigo's Restaurant -- Dragon Margarita
2nd Place: Chef Chic -- Purple Blossom Margarita
3rd Place: Guadalajara Mexican Grill -- Spicy Mango Margarita
Best Menu Sample
Judges Choice: The Tequila Factory @ Casino Del Sol -- Chiltepin & White Sonoran Wheat Salad
People's Choice: Rigo's Restaurant -- Barbacoa
The judging panel was comprised of professionals who are well-versed in the Tucson culinary culture including: Matt Russell, public relations executive and host of 104.1 KQTH's On the Menu Live; Melissa Stihl, writer for Tucson Foodie; and Sandra Cannett, writer and owner of Fat Tucson.
Note to Media: Photos Available
Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance
The Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance (SAACA) is a not-for-profit organization that exists to ensure that, through engagement in arts and culture, our communities produce strong, inspired citizens. SAACA enlists artists, businesses, governments, and individuals to expand artistic and cultural opportunities in their respective communities. To enhance access to the arts and to promote cultural awareness in the communities it serves, SAACA presents large-scale festivals, events and other programs. The Alliance also promotes educational opportunities in the arts and culture for all ages. For more information about programs and events produced by the Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance, go to www.saaca.org.
Tucson Originals Restaurants
Tucson Originals Restaurants exemplify the independent spirit and the rich culinary heritage that is Tucson. Formed in 1999, the Tucson Originals have been the driving force and model for similar groups all across America who are working to preserve the culinary spirit of their communities. With the rapid rise of chain eateries, this alliance has helped many of Tucson’s signature restaurants survive and thrive. They are your neighbors and friends who contribute endlessly to the betterment of our community. You will find them represented at countless charitable events and outreach efforts throughout the year. They are the first to give when there is a need. We hope you will give them your support and enjoy their offerings in return.